Spain Park struggles, falls to Vestavia

The Spain Park offense got off to a slow start Friday night at Jaguar Stadium, and the Vestavia Hills Rebels were able to overcome a tough Jaguar defense to win, 17-7.

The sparse home crowd was treated to a defensive struggle in the first quarter, with the two teams trading punts seven times during the quarter.

Vestavia received the opening kickoff and went three-and-out, the first of four consecutive drives where neither team looked as if they would be able to muster a first down.

The Rebels finally got a first down on their third drive but saw the drive end on an incomplete pass on fourth down.

The Rebels opened the second quarter with a strong drive, capped off by an 11-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Howard to Davis Blair. The Rebels led 7-0 and looked to continue their defensive domination.

The Jaguars finally got a first down on their next drive, but the drive sputtered and they were forced to punt the ball away.

A bad punt by Spain Park gave the Rebels good field position midway through the second quarter. Starting at their own 44-yard line, the Rebels put together their second-straight scoring drive, kicking a 39-yard field goal to go up 10-0 with less than four minutes before the half.

Spain Park and Vestavia would exchange two quick punts, and the Jaguars would take over at their own 38 with less than a minute left in the half.

A quick first down got them to their own 48, and the Jaguars showed life on the very next play. A 50-yard pass put the Jaguars on the Rebels 2-yard line. A 2-yard run by Alton Daniels would tighten the score to 10-7 heading to halftime.

The momentum that the Jaguars built going into the half would not last. Spain Park received the ball to open the second half but went three-and-out and punted to the Rebels.

The Rebels took their next drive down the field and score on a 3-yard touchdown run by Ryan Howard, putting the Rebels up 17-7, a score that would hold and prove to be too much for the Jaguars to overcome.

The two teams traded seven more punts. Vestavia threatened to extend its lead even more midway through the fourth quarter. On fourth-and-goal the Rebels threw an apparent touchdown, but an offensive interference penalty wiped out the play. The penalty occurred in the end zone, resulting in a loss of down and giving Spain Park the ball at its own 20.

A Jaguar interception with under a minute left in the game ensured a Rebel victory, 17-7.

The loss eliminates Spain Park (1-6,1-5) from playoff contention. The Jaguars go on the road to play Gardendale next Friday at 7 p.m.